View From The Right: Illiberal Conspiracy

The magazine has two articles on the controversy around the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed film, Padmavati, and a Malyalam film, S... Durga earlier titled Sexy Durga. The crux of these articles is that under the garb of freedom of expression, liberals and film-makers only target Hindu figures.

Published: December 6, 2017 12:50 am
Padmavati, Padmavati row, padmavati controversy, Nayantara Sahgal, sanjay leela bhanshali Deepika Padukone in a still from movie Padmavati

“The so-called liberals and the Communists who pretend to be liberals,” starts this week’s editorial in the Organiser, “have been put to test time and again and every time when they try to selectively play the liberal card, there double standards are exposed.”

The magazine has two articles on the controversy around the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed film, Padmavati, and a Malyalam film, S… Durga earlier titled Sexy Durga. The crux of these articles is that under the garb of freedom of expression, liberals and film-makers only target Hindu figures. Though it condemns any violence, it asks “who is giving birth to these violent outfits and why?” The editorial says: “Instead of discussing history on the basis of available resources and how far film-makers should be allowed to distort the same for commercial gains, the ‘liberal’ gang supported by the financiers of the Bollywood (sic) opted for denial mode of any such historical incident, then tried to glorify Khilji as a great reformist and when some groups reacted sharply, they brought the favourite ‘Freedom of Expression’ bogie.” The editorial wonders why “so called liberals” didn’t support Rohit Sardana when he asked if the same people “would take the same stand on movies named ‘S. Fatima’ or ‘S. Ayesha’.” The magazine says that when “liberals rant”it is considered freedom of expression, while in other cases it becomes hate speech. It blames such double standards of the liberals for “killing the liberal ethos rooted in the Bharatiya civilisation” and holds them responsible for the “many more violently protesting ‘Senas’”.

The other article on the issue asks if such a focus on Hindu figures “is to run down the glorious cultural and historical legacy of the Hindus and to show them in a poor light or is it to play prank on them in the name of art?” This article names many Bollywood songs and names of movies that mention Hindu deities and holy sites, allegedly being used inappropriately. It states that it is irrelevant whether or not Padmavati was fictional: “In Rajasthan’s imagination, she has come to acquire a space of pride and honour. Any perceived compromise on that count would ruffle the feathers.”

Gujarat Poll Agenda

The cover stories of both Panchjanya and Organiser focus on the Gujarat elections. Both articles claim that while BJP is contesting the elections on its development model and against dynasty, the Congress is fighting on a casteist plank.

Panchjanya claims that the Congress’s biggest weakness is that it does not have local cadre, which is why it is battling with the help of other organisations and forces. This, it says, is in contrast to the BJP’s development plank. The articles in both the magazines mention that Congress is using the help of young, local caste leaders like Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mewani.

Both the magazines mention two letters being shared on social media. One allegedly written by Archbishop Thomas Mackwan asking electors to ensure a defeat of the “nationalist”forces, and another supposedly by Sikandarkhan U. Pathan, “in the name of ‘Jagrut Laghumati Yuvak Mandal’”. The second letter allegedly claims that Muslims in India are being considered “terrorists, anti-national and Pakistani”.

Against the BJP’s ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’ slogan, the Congress, the Panchjanya article claims, has certain Muslim and Christian elements who are trying to communalise the electoral atmosphere.

“The BJP is trying its best to keep the elections to Development Vs Dynastic Politics,” argues the article in the Organiser, “while the Congress besides caste factor, has been trying to be a soft-Hindutva party with unprecedented temple visits by the President in waiting.” Both magazine also highlight the incident at the Somnath Temple, casting doubts about Rahul Gandhi being a Hindu.

Hadiya’s Freedom

An article in the Organiser also looks at the Akhila/Hadiya case in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court last week ordered that Hadiya be sent back to her college to pursue her education, and disallowed her husband from being her local guardian, as the 24-year-old had requested. The article gives a detailed account of what happened in the SC and the timeline of how the case has come to where it stands today.

“The journey from ‘AKHILA’ to ‘HADIYA’ is not that simple,” the author notes. She adds that at a time when “Love Jihad” is a “burning issue” the case is about a Hindu girl, Akhila, who was married to a Muslim man after converting herself to Islam.” The author says that by “giving time to pursue her medical internship, the Supreme Court has given time to Akhila to ponder over the real ‘freedom’ for future.(sic)”

Compiled by Krishn Kaushik

For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App

    Live Cricket Scores & Results